The end of another year means we can look back on the new inventions and features seen across the smartphone industry. There’s been a host of ground-breaking features to admire, from foldable phones to 5G connectivity, so let's take a look at the top five standout smartphone features of 2019 below.

Reverse wireless charging

2019 saw a new way of smartphone charging, without the need for wires or power banks. With reverse wireless charging, you can share and transfer your battery power between devices, just by placing the backs of compatible phones against each other. Samsung and Huawei have been pioneers of this feature, and have introduced their own version of reverse wireless charging on their newer smartphones.

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Looking forward to 2020, we're sure reverse wireless charging will be a key feature for many new releases. However, at the end of 2019, reverse wireless charging could be found on: Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Huawei P30 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S10, Samsung Galaxy S10+, Samsung Galaxy S10e, Samsung Galaxy Note 10, Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Foldable phones

Over the years, we’ve seen flip phones, swivel phones and phones with edge-to-edge screens, and for 2019, the future of smartphone design looks to be foldable phones. The exact designs vary, but the premise of a foldable phone is to offer one larger screen, that folds to reveal smaller screens that mimic the size of a traditional smartphone display.

Examples of foldable phones include the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X, and there’s sure to be more affordable models introduced in the coming years. The Samsung Galaxy Fold uses a sophisticated hinge system that acts as the main support and spine of the phone – in short, the smartphone folds exactly like a book. Open it up and you’ll find a 7.3-inch full AMOLED display, but keep the phone unfolded and there’s still a 4.5-inch display to use.

The Huawei Mate X is a little different. Due to a unique soft screen that bends around the outside of the device, the smartphone folds entirely flat. When opened up, you’ll find a full 8-inch display, and there won’t be any signs of creasing or warping on this device.

5G connectivity

2019 was the year of 5G. 5G is the fifth generation of mobile network technology, and ensures users with a 5G-ready smartphone will receive a faster performance, as well as an all-round more reliable network. Download speeds have been increased to a maximum of 10Gbps (4G could reach speeds of 300Mbp in comparison), which, in the real world, will mean you can download a full-length feature film in under 40 seconds.

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Latency speeds have also been reduced to just 1 millisecond, promising a smoother performance without lagging or stalling.

To take advantage of 5G, your smartphone must be equipped with 5G connectivity technology. 5G-ready handsets have a 5G-specific modem and will generally have a larger battery and more powerful processors to handle the demands and speeds of this new network. 5G-ready phones will also be able to connect to 4G and 3G networks, so there's no need to worry if you're travelling to an area that doesn't offer 5G just yet.

Examples of 5G phones available to buy in 2019 are: Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G, Oppo Reno 5G, LG V50 5G, and the Huawei Mate 20X 5G.

Quad-lens cameras

Over the years, smartphone cameras have improved in quality and in number, and quad-lens cameras are the newest advancement in smartphone photography. Put simply, a quad-lens camera has four lenses and each lens has a different role to play. All four work together to deliver exceptional photos that are refined, vibrant and full of detail, as well as offering the photographer more freedom to experiment with distance, effects and angles.

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Many smartphone manufacturers have introduced a quad-lens camera in 2019. Each one is different when it comes to specs, but most will have the key components: one wide-angle lens, one ultra-wide lens, one telephoto lens and some form of specialised lens (for example, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ has a DepthVision Camera which can open up more possibilities with bokeh effects and built-in AR features) . Of course, this setup differs from smartphone to smartphone, but it is what you will generally find with a quad-lens camera.

You'll find quad-lens cameras on: Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, Oppo Reno2 Z, and Huawei P30 Pro.

Motion Sense

Exclusive to Google Pixel 4 and Google Pixel 4 XL, Motion Sense is one of the most innovative standout smartphone features of the year. Motion Sense technology intelligently detects a wave of your hand, letting you control the phone without touching it.

This is all made possible with radar technology. If you walk away from your phone, Motion Sense will automatically turn off the display. When you return, it'll sense your presence and unlock it using face recognition technology.

Quick Gestures open up a world of possibilities with Motion Sense technology too. So far, Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL owners can skip songs, snooze an alarm, reject a call and so much more just by waving a hand over the device.

Although exclusive to Google Pixel 4 series for now, it's likely that this technology (or something similar) will be rolled out across further Google devices, and to other manufacturers, in the future.

If you’d like to try out any of these standout features for yourself, you can find them on a wide range of smartphones available on contact, upgrade or SIM-free, with Mobiles.co.uk.